Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trump the Divider! Obama the Brute!

America is not immune to social mayhem, and it’s about time its leaders realized how close to danger it is. 

President Obama recently offered a “brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump,” by blaming it on the kind of discourse adopted by the Republican establishment over the last few years. “The Republican Party set the conditions long ago for Trump’s success, Obama said. The billionaire just capitalized on the GOP’s own tactics, the president argued.

He is right wrong. But his is more than an assessment. There is an element of gloating here, as though the Republicans’ problem with Trump is going to remain “contained” within the confines of the Republican Party and will have no societal repercussions.

This attitude is not surprising coming from a man who prides himself on failing to intervene to stop the ongoing genocide in Syria dismissing it as “stupid shit.” Obama doesn’t seem capable of fathoming the danger involved in either situation. He simply seems to be incapable of empathy. As a man with Asperger’s Syndrome, I, too, have a problem with empathy, at least when it comes to expressing it, or feeling it except as some kind of vague numbness, but that was enough for me to learn over time of its importance when it comes to human behavior and interrelations. Empathy is not simply about feelings and sentiments; it’s about developing a deeper understanding of certain developments and their potential implications. It gives a deeper context to pure intellectual analysis. A person who is incapable of factoring empathy into his calculations is bound to undermine them on both the domestic and international fronts.

Perhaps what happened in Chicago will come as a wakeup call for Obama, and others, Democrat and Republican, Realists and Interventionists alike. Meanwhile, let’s hope that no one chooses to turn Trump into a martyr. For, then, this will not be a passing incident, and we can all seriously expect all hell to break loose. There is too much anger in many quarters in this country, and we do not need this development, and we cannot afford to think to a Trump as a purely Republican phenomenon, nor of Sanders as a purely Democratic phenomenon. And we really have to explore together ways to satisfy the real concerns of both segments, as diverse as they are, in order to defuse the growing tensions.

America is not immune to social mayhem, and has never been. Only vigilance and pragmatism have saved it over the last few decades. Today, we need a major dose of them. This time calls for strong and capable leadership, not from behind but from the frontlines at home and abroad. I cannot imagine that America has grown barren.


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